PM meets with printers on the campaign trail

Prime Minister Theresa May has made high-profile visits to two printing companies in the space of a week.

Yesterday (10 May) she visited Linney Group in Mansfield. In a briefing with the firm’s management the group’s chairman Nick Linney, who is also a director at the Institute for Family Business, spoke about the importance of family-owned firms to the economy.

Chief executive Miles Linney told PrintWeek: “As a family business, we’d like to be on a level playing field. What happens in London and the City where there’s almost an encouragement to be a wheeler-dealer is the opposite of what we’re about in Mansfield.

“We’re focused on building something for the long-term, that employs 850 people and has employed generations of people from local families.”

May went on to give a short address to employees at the £84.5m group’s Mansfield supersite, before fielding questions from assembled staff on the shopfloor while the national media filmed the visit.

Linney said May “answered all the questions really well” handling a diverse range of topics ranging from veganism to whether she could guarantee there would be no second referendum on Brexit.

He said she came across as “very bright” and revealed that she drank black tea “no milk or sugar”.  

“It’s pretty brave of her to come to Mansfield as it’s had a Labour MP since 1923,” he added.

The visit also resulted in the Mirror’s chicken and fox characters being stationed outside the security perimeter of the Linney facility in an attempt to ambush May.

Last Friday (5 May), she was at Brentford large-format print specialist Octink (pictured below), in a visit organised by the area’s former MP and now prospective parliamentary candidate Mary Macleod. The seat is a key marginal.


Octink hosted a Q&A session where May was quizzed by members of staff at the £16.5m turnover, 105 employee firm, handling a variety of topics including Heathrow expansion, women in business, apprenticeships and the ongoing premises squeeze affecting London manufacturing businesses.

“We were really impressed with her, both one-to-one and with the group,” said managing director Mike Freely. “We also spoke about our desire to keep the SME agenda going in printing. It’s not an easy place to be as an SME in manufacturing, with uncertainty around the general election and Brexit.”

Afterwards, May made a statement to broadcast media about the local election results.

A recent PrintWeek poll found that more than half of the respondents planned to vote Conservative in the upcoming general election.




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